Published: Tue, September 18, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

FEMA postpones nationwide test of wireless 'Presidential Alert' system

FEMA postpones nationwide test of wireless 'Presidential Alert' system

The message will be titled "Presidential Alert" but will indicate it is only a test of the national wireless emergency alert system. This is the fourth EAS nationwide test and the first national WEA test.

Recipients of the test message will hear a tone and vibration before receiving a message that reads "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System". So unless users choose to turn off their phones at the accorded time, they will be receiving the Presidential Alert (and can not opt out of it). Some cell phones will not receive the test message, and cell phones should only receive the message once.

FEMA noted the WEA is used to alert the public about "dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones".

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency postponed its first national test of a national wireless alert system that allows the president to send text messages directly to most U.S. mobile-phone users. "No action is needed". Under the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act of 2006, cellphone users can not opt out of the presidential alerts. The president has sole responsibility for determining when the national-level alerts are used.

Don't freak out when you get a text from the government on October 3. The test is made available to EAS participants (i.e., radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers) and is scheduled to last approximately one minute. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its role in planning the test alert. Eastern Time, cell phones will chirp loudly and vibrate twice. A similar wireless emergency alert test message has been sent to all cell phones nationwide.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has approved new rules to ensure starting in 2019 that alerts are more precisely targeted, with links to photos or other important information.

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The WEA test will be broadcast over the course of about 30 minutes and sound the same as an AMBER Alert.

In April, the FCC blamed that false alarm on human error and inadequate safeguards.

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